Today, signage in Times Square has begun to branch apart as older, legacy signs – anchor signs that are at least 10 years old – meet new neighbors: the modern LED signs popping up around the square, monumental in size with bright, high-resolution LED video displays. With current estimates of pedestrian traffic at 350,000-450,000 passersby per day, Times Square has become an experimental laboratory for the latest techniques in digital signage, incorporating social media, interactivity, augmented reality and high definition, wide angle viewing displays, all combined into some of the greatest off-premise signage gathered in a single area. The confluence of all this activity has resulted in five emerging signage trends percolating throughout Times Square.
Blade signs as vertical billboards
With LEDs, the blade sign has become a vertical message center, a platform for third party advertising with mid-block promotions streaming across its face. Furthermore, the blade location is expanding from theater marquees to the sides of skyscrapers, in effect hanging vertical billboards along the building façade.
Many legacy signs are being refurbished with more current LED technology, in some cases keeping their original design, while others are changing their look to become more visually competitive.
Developers pursuing the ad game
Real estate developers formerly leased out building façades to OOH media agencies or anchor tenants who, in turn, would buy and install huge LED displays for placement over leased retail spaces. Now, some developers are competing for revenue with OOH agencies by buying and installing LED signs.
Pitching high resolution
As more high-end retailers are opening ground-level Times Square flagships, LED signs are being installed closer to street level. Many are being configured as SMDs with a tighter pitch (8-10 mm) and offering sharper, high definition visuals that have much closer and wider viewing angles.
Social media’s ubiquity and popularity have driven agencies to develop direct-marketing, digital-advertising campaigns that give new life to getting your name “in lights” when social sharing leads to the projection of users’ images on digital displays throughout Times Square.
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